The Writing on the Wall

Juliet Rieden

The Writing on the Wall
Pan Macmillan Australia
27 August 2019

The Writing on the Wall

Juliet Rieden

Australian journalist Juliet Rieden grew up in England in the 1960s and 70s always sensing that her family was different in some way. She wondered why she knew so little about her father’s childhood, why her Czech grandmother had visited just once and why she had so few relatives.

In 2006, on the night before Juliet’s father died, he suddenly looked up and said: ‘The plane is in the hangar.’ In the years after his death, Juliet comes to truly understand the significance of these words.

Her journey begins with a visit to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, where she finds the Rieden name repeated many times over on the walls. Juliet embarks on a quest to research her family history - and what she uncovers leads her to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, where she traces the fate of her grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles. As she finds answers, she unearths more questions, and she learns about the extremes of cruelty, courage and kindness.

Meticulously researched and beautifully told, this is the story of a woman’s quest to make sense of her father, and his determination to forge a life of connection and purpose from a childhood marred by so much loss.

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